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Canada’s main stock index gained at Thursday’s opening bell, boosted by strength in healthcare and tech stocks along with improved global risk sentiment. On Wall Street, the tech-heavy Nasdaq jumped 2 per cent in early trading in the wake of strong results from Facebook owner Meta.

At 9:32 a.m. ET, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 41.07 points, or 0.2 per cent, at 20,792.12.

In the U.S., the Nasdaq Composite gained 248.83 points, or 2.11 per cent, to 12,065.15 at the opening bell. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 36.34 points, or 0.11 per cent, at the open to 34,129.30, while the S&P 500 opened higher by 39.47 points, or 0.96 per cent, at 4,158.68.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Federal Reserve raised U.S. interest rates by a quarter percentage point and offered little indication that a pause was in the offing. However, Fed chair Jerome Powell also said it was “gratifying to see the disinflationary process now getting underway”, offering some hope that price pressures are easing.

“That was the major - and the only take - of his speech yesterday, and sent the markets rallying,” Swissquote senior analyst Ipek Ozkardeskaya said in a note.

“But besides the ‘disinflationary process’, things went quite according to the plan at yesterday’s FOMC meeting,” she said. “The Fed increased the interest rates by 25 basis points, as expected. Powell said that they are happy with the falling inflation, but warned that the U.S. jobs market remains tight, and wages growth is still too strong.”

On Thursday morning, the ECB raise rates by half a percentage point, matching market forecasts. The central bank also signalled a similar move at its March meeting.

“The Governing Council intends to raise interest rates by another 50 basis points at its next monetary policy meeting in March and it will then evaluate the subsequent path of its monetary policy,” the bank said.

On the corporate side, shares of Meta jumped about 18 per cent in morning trading after the Facebook parent cut its cost outlook for 2023 by US$5-billion and forecast first-quarter sales that could top Wall Street estimates. It also said its investments in AI-surfaced content and TikTok short video competitor Reels were starting to pay off.

After the closing bell, more tech giants are scheduled to release their latest quarterly results. Alphabet, Apple and Amazon are all scheduled to release earnings later this afternoon. Ford and Starbucks are also on deck with their most recent earnings reports.

In Canada, telecom results come into focus with earnings this morning from Rogers Communications and BCE Inc.

Rogers is now awaiting federal approval for its $20-billion deal to buy Shaw Communications. The Globe has reported that Federal Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne is asking Rogers and Quebecor Inc. for firm commitments to maintain affordable and accessible wireless service after their planned transactions, including signing written undertakings that impose consequences if the companies fail to keep their promises.

In its latest quarter, Rogers beat revenue forecasts. Total revenue increased 6 per cent to $4.17-billion in the quarter ended Dec. 31, inching past analysts’ average estimate of $4.15-billion, according to Refinitiv data. Profit in the quarter rose 25 per cent, helped by gains in the company’s wireless division. Shares were up more than 1 per cent on the results shortly after the opening bell in Toronto.

BCE, meanwhile, reported net earnings attributable to common shareholders of $528-million or 58 cents per diluted share in the fourth quarter, down from $625-million or 69 cents per diluted share a year earlier. Total operating revenue totalled $6.44-billion, up from $6.21-billion a year ago. BCE also said it expects its adjusted earnings per share for the year to be down 3 per cent to 7 per cent compared with 2022 due to lower tax adjustments, higher depreciation and amortization expenses and increased interest costs. Revenue growth for the year is expected to be between 1 per cent and 5 per cent. Shares were down more than 2 per cent in morning trading.

Overseas, the pan-European STOXX 600 was up 0.92 per cent by midday. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 gained 1.58 per cent and 0.64 per cent, respectively. Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 0.90 per cent. Early Thursday, the Bank of England delivered its tenth consecutive rate hike, raising its bank rate to 4 per cent from 3.5 per cent.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei finished up 0.20 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.52 per cent.


Crude prices were steady in early trading, underpinned by a softer U.S. dollar and a decision by OPEC+ to keep output levels unchanged.

The day range on Brent was US$82.43 to US$83.61 in the early premarket period. The range on West Texas Intermediate was US$76.06 to US$77.24.

Both benchmarks saw sharp losses on Wednesday after new figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed a rise in crude inventories.

“The EIA crude oil inventory report showed inventories rose to the highest levels since June 2021,” OANDA senior analyst Ed Moya said.

“Demand edged higher but more output is mitigating any tightness that is left.”

Prices were helped early Thursday by weakness in the U.S. dollar following the Fed’s latest rate decision. The U.S. dollar index touched its lowest level in nine months early Thursday. A weaker U.S. dollar makes crude less expensive for holders of other currencies and stokes demand.

Crude also drew some support from Wednesday’s OPEC+ decision to leave output levels unchanged, although the move had been widely expected by markets.

In other commodities, gold hit its best level in nine months on the back of a weaker greenback.

Spot gold was up 0.2 per cent at US$1,954.77 per ounce by early Thursday morning, after hitting its highest since April 2022 earlier in the session. U.S. gold futures rose 1.5 per cent to US$1,955.30.


The Canadian dollar was little changed, holding above the 75-US-cent mark, while its U.S. counterpart traded near nine-month lows against a group of world currencies.

The day range on the loonie was 75.20 US cents to 75.40 US cents in the early premarket period.

There were no major Canadian economic releases due on Thursday. World markets are now awaiting the latest U.S. jobs numbers, due Friday morning. Canada’s January jobs report is scheduled to be released next week.

Against a basket of currencies, the U.S. dollar index fell over 1 per cent to a nine-month low of 100.80 on Wednesday, and traded just above that on Thursday, according to figures from Reuters. The U.S. dollar took a hit after the Fed raised rates and offered no suggestion a pause was in the near future, but also indicated that the disinflationary process was underway.

“(Powell) said that rates are going to have to be restrictive for some time, but that doesn’t dissuade the market from saying some time might be six months, rather than two years.” Ray Attrill, head of FX strategy at National Australia Bank, told Reuters.

The euro, meanwhile, hit US$1.1034 in Asian trading on Thursday, its highest since April 4. The currency rose more than 1 per cent on Wednesday.

In bonds, the yield on the U.S. 10-year note was up slightly at 3.42 per cent ahead of the North American opening bell.

More company news

Canada Goose Holdings Inc trimmed its full-year revenue forecast on Thursday as COVID-induced restrictions weigh on sales of upscale jackets and parkas in China. The Toronto, Ontario-based company cut its fiscal 2023 sales expectations to about $1.18-billion to $1.20-billion, compared with its prior forecast of $1.2-billion to $1.3-billion. Analysts expect an annual revenue of about $1.24-billion, IBES data from Refinitiv showed. -Reuters

Lightspeed Commerce Inc. reported a loss of US$814.8-million in its latest quarter as it took a non-cash goodwill impairment charge of US$748.7 million. The e-commerce company, which keeps its books in U.S. dollars, says the loss amounted to US$5.39 per diluted share for the quarter ended Dec. 31 compared with a net loss of US$65.5-million or 44 cents per diluted share a year earlier. Revenue for was the third quarter of the company’s 2023 financial year totalled US$188.7-million, up from US$152.7 million in the same quarter a year earlier. -The Canadian Press

The Globe’s Susan Krashinsky Robertson reports Canada’s largest grocer is stepping up its public relations strategy to convince people that it is not to blame for higher prices. But experts say consumers grappling with food affordability are in no mood to hear that message. On the day that its 11-week price freeze on No Name products ended on Tuesday, Loblaw Cos. Ltd. was active on Twitter, responding to people who criticized the company with messages explaining that “food inflation is a global issue” and that price increases were the fault of suppliers who had themselves raised prices. Other Loblaw tweets heralded the price freeze for helping consumers “at a time they needed it most.”

Shell delivered a record US$40-billion profit in 2022, the energy giant said on Thursday, capping a tumultuous year in which a surge in energy prices after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine allowed it to hand shareholders unprecedented returns. The British company’s record earnings, which more than doubled from a year earlier, mirror those reported by U.S. rivals earlier this week and are certain to intensify pressure on governments to further raise taxes on the sector. “We intend to remain disciplined while delivering compelling shareholder returns,” Chief Executive Wael Sawan said in a statement on the first set of earnings since he took the helm on Jan. 1. -Reuters

Economic news

(8:30 a.m. ET) Canadian building permits for December.

(8:30 a.m. ET) U.S. initial jobless claims for week of Jan. 28.

(8:30 a.m. ET) U.S. productivity and labour unit costs for Q4.

With Reuters and The Canadian Press